Clever Accounting finalists in the upcoming MCA 2013 eBusiness Awards!

We are really proud to announce that Clever Accounting has been chosen to compete as a finalist in the Malta Communications Authority’s (MCA) 2013 Awards in the Best eBusiness Idea category.

This is the 3rd edition of the MCA eBusiness Awards with various local established companies such as Lufthansa Cargo, Seasus, Calamatta Cuschieri, Bank of Valletta, ICON, Vodafone Malta and others, winning the awards in previous years.

The awards are aimed at acknowledging unique and innovative local ideas and initiatives in the use of web-based technologies and eBusiness for businesses and society at large.

Although the best awards are the testimonials and kind words that we receive from our customers and partners, we very much appreciate being nominated for the MCA awards. Such nominations are further proof that the shift to using important online services like cloud accounting software is being accepted and appreciated by the ICT industry.

This has also all happened with very good timing as we’re about to make a big announcement this Wednesday, so make sure you come back and see what it is. There might be something in it for you!

Clever Accounting attends the MasterCard Merchant Risk Roundtable

Clever Accounting recently attended a Merchant Risk Roundtable organized by MasterCard Worldwide, at the Westin Dragonara Hotel in Malta.

The seminar touched upon a number of important topics IT Securityall with the aim of reducing risk while doing business online. Security receives the highest priority in our day to day operations at Clever Accounting and we feel that many of the points brought up during this roundtable should be discussed. To this end we thought of sharing some of these points with you.

New Developments
MasterCard are working hard to make credit card transactions safer. For face-to-face (or card present) transactions the chipped card has been introduced while for online transactions they are implementing what is known as 3D secure. Although some may consider these introductions of higher security as a hindrance, they help to considerably reduce the risk to the merchant and the bank.

Now more attention is being placed on the weakest link in the whole chain of credit card payment. The weakest link is the human link. For example, how many of us know someone who received an email that seemed to be an official email from a reputed entity and unfortunately followed the instructions blindly? Many consider printed documents (including emails and websites) as legitimate. We have to spread the message that there is another step before a click and that is THINK.

What about those who receive a telephone call from a supposedly reputable entity and request the user to use the computer to log in on a site to have the computer fixed from a virus? As soon as the victim logs in, the computer is overtaken by the hacker who requests money to unblock the computer.

We must always stay vigilant and work on the premise that the other party has to earn our trust before we trust them.
Hackers will go to extreme lengths to get sensitive information from victims. Take for example the case where the credit card terminal in a shop was modified to capture both the information on the magnetic strip of the card and the pin number. The introduction of the chip on the credit card has considerably reduced this type of attack.

Security as a priority
Here at Clever Accounting we pay a lot of attention to security. Protecting our clients’ data is very important for us and we go the extra mile to constantly check that our servers are up to date and that data is safe. Our aim is to remain at the cutting edge of technology to provide a secure and reliable service.

In conclusion, as businesses and consumers, we must always remain vigilant and we must stay informed about the security issues of doing business both online and in a face-to-face manner. This will give us the peace of mind that comes with doing business with entities who hold information security in high regard.

Clever Accounting helps small business owners and accountants to record their accounts, carry out bank reconciliation, invoicing, tax, and to generate accounting reports and financial statements. It is a fully-featured online accounting system that is easy to use, secure, and affordable.

October 2013 update from behind the scenes

In the last week, we have carried out an update for Clever Accounting. We’ve sprayed some bug spray and exterminated some bugs that were lying in dark corners. We’ve also added some new functionality. This is a small round-up:

In the coming months, we are planning new features that will make using Clever Accounting even more efficient. The great thing about cloud hosted software is that you automatically get the benefits of updated software while we work hard to bring you new improvements. In the meantime, we are working on more training videos that will greatly help new clients making the transition to Clever Accounting.

Finally, if you haven’t already, please support us and ‘like’ our Facebook Page. We’ve already garnered over 400 likes in less than a month. We are getting a lot of feedback from our supporters who agree that Accounting in general should be more straightforward and it should deliver more value, and that is exactly what we are helping our customers achieve.

Thank you to the hundreds of people who are behind us in bringing this positive change to business management.

 

 

10 startup lessons learned at TechCrunch Italy 2013

It had it all. Exciting startups, inspiring speakers, a unique venue, and a charismatic Marco Montemagno at his best. TechCrunch Italy 2013 was a success.

The event was attended by entrepreneurs, investors and media TechCrunch Italy 2013mostly from Italy, though there were participants from over ten countries including the USA, UK, Germany and Spain. Among the speakers featured Matthew Prince, CEO of CloudFlare, Renaud Visage, co-founder of Eventbrite, and Micheal Widenius, founder of MySQL. So, pretty big stuff.

The conference took place over two jam-packed days and I couldn’t stop taking notes throughout. These are 10 startup lessons learned from TechCrunch Italy 2013!

1. “Persistance breaks resistance”.  I loved this quote by Zaryn Dentzel of Tuenti. The importance of combining utter hard work with strong self-belief in your startup cannot be overstated in the world of ambitious startups. Efe Cakarel, founder of MUBI, similarly reminded us of Winston Churchill’s famous quote, “If you’re going through hell, keep going”.

2. Massimo Ciociola, founder of MusixMatch, emphasised the importance of design. In itself design is a form of social proof and particularly at the early stages of a startup it is a great way to build trust in your brand new brand (pun intended). Also contemplating on design was John Underkoffler from Oblong, who pointed out that “design is what takes us from the past into the future”. Wise words from the man who worked on the futuristic interfaces in Minority Report.

3. “Too much money in the beginning is toxic. You create a burning plate”, so said Yossi Vardi, established entrepreneur and investor. The same sentiment was shared by Mike Butcher, Editor at large at TechCrunch, who pointed out that startups should raise money once they achieve traction. In his own words, “raise money as late as you can”. The reasoning behind this is that you might spend too much money early on, putting you in serious debt once you actually get going.

4. Have a vision and believe in that. Matthew Prince’s (Cloudflare) vision was “to build a better web”.  Matthew had to repeat that vision in front of the mirror for several months before he could say it convincingly. It was ambitious, yet today over 350,000 websites use Cloudflare.

5. Following trends is great. Anticipating them is even better. Perhaps the best way to do this is to focus on what will not change. Also, keep in mind that trends are exponential. So if your startup is banking its success on a number of trends, make sure you consider their exponential development.

6. Be bold. So said Mauro del Rio co-founder of Buongiorno. Today, the entrepreneurs are the rockstars, not the media or the investors. If you are changing the world, don’t ask for very little funding. Half a million will only get you so far. Think big and don’t shy away from what you need to achieve your goals.

7. Focus. Again, this is another of those points that cannot be repeated too many times. Its importance was mentioned by a host of speakers, but perhaps most noticeably by the VC panel when commenting on the most important characteristics they look for in entrepreneurs.

8. When it comes to A/B Testing, conventional wisdom is often wrong. Amelia Showalter, former director of digital analytics for the Obama re-election campaign, emphasized the importance of being humble. Coming from an expert who helped raise over $500 million online for Obama’s campaign, that is quite something. Amelia outlined that when testing, it was very hard to correctly guess which version would perform best and this is why it was important to be humble and admit when you’re wrong. Most of the time, despite being an expert, she would not be able to guess what would perform best and that is why they tested everything.

9. Business Plans are bullshit. Four investors said this. One of them even said he hasn’t looked at a business plan in years. Apparently what is important is the 20 slide presentation you give them and the qualities of the founder/s.

10. Martin Varsavsky from Fon, pointed out that Apple, Google, and Facebook all have a particular and different character. Yet they are all very successful. It follows then, that there’s more than one good way to build and run, a great company.

I could keep on going as so much was shared. However, to really get the best out of a TechCrunch conference is to attend it. If you have an opportunity to attend the upcoming TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin or any of their future events, I would highly recommend it.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the above? Which point struck you the most and why?

Clever Accounting saves time for Accountant in Malta

Although we deal with businesses from all around the world, Paul-GostelowClever Accounting was born in Malta (Europe) and we have strong ties with several accountants and small business owners here on the island.

The fact that we’ve been able to work with several companies and help them improve aspects of their operations has provided us with a lot of satisfaction.

Recently one of our Clever Accounting partners, Paul Gostelow, an accountant in Malta from Astra Consulting, gave us a great testimonial that we’d like to share with you.

“As a corporate services provider who carries out bookkeeping, VAT and related activities, I was tearing my hair out trying to find a software that was Malta specific, rather than having to tweak an international software to make it work for Malta.

Luckily I met Clever Solutions Ltd. and their accounting software, Clever Accounting. It is a great software that halves the work we used to do for the quarterly VAT returns and is configured exactly in the same manner as the VAT reruns. It is intuitive and very easy to pick up. The support team is second to none and usually answer within an hour.

I have no hesitation recommending clever accounting and in fact some of my clients have started to use it for their own in-house purposes. It also has multiple language capabilities so for dealing with clients in Italian for example it is perfect. Last but no least the pricing is very keen”.

If you are an accountant, contact us and we’ll provide you with a face-to-face demonstration of the software. We can also explain the benefits an accounting firm like yours can experience when partnering with a technology firm like Clever Solutions Ltd.

For a free trial of Clever Accounting you can simply sign up here.

Why every startup needs accounting software

Setting up a business is not for sissies. According to research by the University of Tennessee, 44% of new businesses do not make it past the 3rd year, with 55% not making it past the 5th year.

The rate of failure for technology startups is actually much higher with more than 90% of tech startups ultimately failing.

The bottom-line is that most entrepreneurs trying to build a successful company will not succeed.

What does this have to do with Accounting?

According to the University of Tennessee research, Startup Discussionit turns out that many of the reasons why companies fail are related to the mismanagement of the financial side of the company. Some of the most common causes for failure include the nonpayment of taxes, no knowledge of financing, over-spending, and poor credit granting practices.

From my experience with meeting with several new businesses over the years, it is often the case that the founders of businesses are either technical people/specialists, business developers, or a combination of the two. These do not necessarily have knowledge about managing money in a company and as a consequence, things like accounting many times end up not being attributed their due attention.

From the qualitative research we’ve done here at Clever Solutions Ltd., both with accountants and small business owners, we have found that accounting is often perceived as a necessary chore and expense. These are both negative ways to perceive a business function that is crucial to achieve commercial success.

Where does Accounting Software come in?

Making the step to using accounting software to organize the accounting function of your business is a great start to improving how you use your company’s money. Many startups still do their accounting in Excel. Although Excel is a great application, it is not made for accounting. Once the business begins growing and more data needs to be entered, Excel becomes quite cumbersome. Accounting software don’t have this problem, and with the easy to use and low-cost options available, there is little reason not to explore existing solutions.

Working with an accountant who can ensure your books are in order, your taxes paid, and who can provide you with advisory services is also very much recommended. If you don’t have the know-how, don’t try to go it alone. Accounting is not data entry (as some perceive it to be) and requires an experienced professional to get right.

Even though your accountant will be seeing to your accounting needs, you still need to be conversant with how to use your accounting software and with accessing your accounting data.

Conclusion

The trend with accounting software is that it is all moving online, making the accounting function more accessible to management. Suddenly the CEO can now easily view his company’s latest accounts at home or during a business trip. This important development brings accounting closer to the people in charge, and with the help of an accountant, proper financial management becomes more do-able, improving the chances of success for you and your team.

What are your views on the importance of accounting in new businesses and startups?

New Quick Start Video Tutorial

The beginning is always the hardest bit. That’s probably not always true, but it does apply to most accounting software. When starting to use an accounting package, you have to set up your company and tax details so that transactions that are entered are recorded correctly. With Clever Accounting we’re doing our best to make the beginning as plain sailing for you as possible.

Not everyone is familiar with how the process, from company setup to invoicing, looks like. So we’ve created a short 7 minute video that goes through this exact sequence. This way, new users will have a more complete idea of the initial steps they need to go through when using Clever Accounting.

The video is meant to be indicative rather than exhaustive. Certain topics such as taxes and payment methods are not covered as these shall be discussed in later videos.


 

We hope you find the video helpful and please leave your feedback in the comments below! This will help us improve and provide you with the best product possible.

 

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